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Seattle down to three healthy receivers

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Losing Nate Burleson for the season severely affects the Seahawks' passing game, particularly in the short term. Seattle already expects to be without Deion Branch and Bobby Engram when the 49ers visit Qwest Field in Week 2.

Seattle now has three healthy wide receivers: Courtney Taylor, Logan Payne and Jordan Kent. Those three have combined for nine regular-season receptions.

Burleson will join receiver Ben Obomanu on injured reserve. Michael Bumpus remains on the practice squad for now. Branch and Engram could return in the next couple of weeks. Signing a veteran makes sense in theory, but how much would a player new to the system help during what might be only a two-week window before Branch and Engram return?

Seattle has a history of moving aggressively in the receiver market. The team sent a first-round draft choice to New England for Branch following the 2006 season opener. Branch was holding out, making him readily available. He also fit other parameters deemed important by management; he was a hard-working leader with a history of big-game success. Most teams do not trade those types of players.

The Seahawks brought in return specialists Eddie Drummond and Brandon Williams for tryouts earlier this month. Both are listed as wide receivers, but neither has meaningful game experience at the position. Seattle will have to alter its offense in the short term. The team might have to sign a veteran stopgap. Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace might need to play extensively at receiver. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will also have to develop a better rapport with his existing receivers.

These are desperate times in Seattle.